My husband and I have moved 3 times in the past 8 years. The first time was an hour away (with 7 children)… the second time was to a different house in the same city nine months later (with 8 children)… and the third time was 1300 miles away from Minnesota to Idaho 6 years later (with 9 children). I’m no expert on moving, but I’ve learned plenty from those experiences (both good and bad)… especially when it comes to dealing with clutter…
- One good thing?… Moving forces you to deal with every single item you possess.
- One bad thing?… Moving forces you to deal with every single item you possess.
You need to deal with all of it… the stuff under the sink… the laundry pile… the piles of junk mail… and even the junk drawer. No item can escape… every item must packed or tossed. A move doesn’t just change your surroundings, but demands you deal with all the various thoughts and emotions as you go through every item. It’s no wonder moving is one of the top five most stressful situations people go through.
Before our last move, Mike and I spent an entire day going through totes that we had stored in the garage. Some were easy to deal with like the ones filled with clothes waiting for summer… but then there were the ones saved for “some day…” including boxes that hadn’t been touched since our previous move six years before…
Why do we keep things that are keeping us captive, frustrated, bitter, or scared? I mean, it shouldn’t be difficult to let go of the dehydrator we quit using six years ago… and why would we think we might still need to keep all the other things that have been hidden in storage long forgotten and unused… for years? But, moving doesn’t just force us to see everything that we own… it also reveals all that’s owning us.
So many things… too many things I’d been unwilling to let go of “just in case…”
- just in case we can’t buy it…
- just in case we need it…
- just in case I have the time…
- just in case I want it…
- just in case things are different…
None of those boxes or totes were there for any other reason than, I’d let them be. I allowed years of struggle convince me that I needed to keep everything… just in case.
I will never forget how I felt as I sat in the middle of all those boxes and totes… so overwhelmed by the clutter I’d been holding onto… disappointed that I’d fallen into the trap of fear… again… and angry that I’d let my circumstances control my decisions. I’d chosen to find peace in a garage filled with boxes just in case my God didn’t provide how I thought He should…
I knew the clutter in my life was a reflection of something going on deeper inside, and as I sat in the midst of my mess… all the disappointment, fear, and anger stored deep inside just in case, revealed the bigger mess deep inside of me.
YOUR STEP TOWARD MINIMALISM
All the clutter that’s crowded your home is only a result of the internal clutter that’s confused your emotions, compromised your beliefs, and controlled your thoughts, and the external clutter you’re shoving out of the way is the result of the hidden internal clutter you’ve refused to let go of.
When getting rid of your stuff evokes sadness, fear, depression, or anxiety to the point you can’t get rid of it… you’ve crossed the line from owning your stuff to your stuff owning you. Please understand… owning stuff isn’t evil. It’s not a sin to have things… or even nice things. Living a more simple life doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything, or fit all you own into a backpack, or only shop at the local thrift store or garage sales. I haven’t broken the “secret code of minimalism” by having a bunch of kids, two vehicles, or more Fiestaware plates than most people use for a Thanksgiving dinner.
A life of minimalism isn’t about being miserable… it’s about creating a more meaningful life with less than the world says is necessary. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you live less of a life… but that you choose the journey of creating a life that makes YOU become more. It’s about finding your heartbeat… your song… your dance. It’s about freedom from guilt, debt, and stress. It’s about living the life you’ve dreamed of… instead of dreaming about the life you want to live.
If you wanna live a life that’s more simple and less cluttered… a life where you can give your attention to what matters most to you (instead of what is most demanding your attention)… if you want a life filled with laughter and peace, removed from all the clutter that’s sapping the life out of you… a life that reflects who you really are not what you’re fighting against and drowning under, then you have to declutter more than just what you see.
And, speaking of what you see…
If you’re struggling with the clutter you already have, adding more to it will only make things worse. Just because it’s on sale, you got a great deal, you’ve been wanting it, or it would look great on you does not mean you “need” it! Why would you bring more into your house when you already have more than you can store? (And just so we’re on the same page… when I say “store” I DON’T mean what you can shove into a closet, put into storage, squeeze into a drawer, or hide under the bed!)
If you wanna get serious about decluttering, then you’re gonna have to seriously declutter! I’ve learned that when I’m drowning in a mess and just can’t seem to get things under control and in order… the first decision I need make is to quit bringing more in and refuse to take on more until things are under control… it’s just that simple.
NO MORE FOR 30…
If you want something different than what you’ve been getting, you’re gonna need to do something different than what you’ve been doing. That means, if you want to simply live, you need to live simply. So, if you’re REALLY serious about getting rid of ALL the clutter, do not buy or bring anything into your home that isn’t necessary for the next 30 days.
I realize what I’m asking, but this is really the first BIG STEP in decluttering your home because it immediately eliminates you having to deal with finding a place to put anything else! PLEASE NOTE: If you’re not willing to do take this step, then you will continue to limp forward throughout the rest of your decluttering process. Yes, this is THAT important to your success, and here’s why…
- No more for 30 = less clutter (you don’t need to find a spot for more).
- No more for 30 = less chaos (you don’t need to deal with more stuff).
- No more for 30 = less stress (you don’t need to think about what to get).
- No more for 30 = less debt (you don’t need to spend any money).
- No more for 30 = less wasted time (you don’t need to spend time thinking about what you need to buy, remodel, or want).
When the clutter in your life has taken control, it’s time to remove (and refuse) the clutter controlling YOU. So, for the next 30 days, ONLY the things that are NEEDED/NECESSARY can enter your home…
Things you NEED to buy more of or bring into your home for the next 30 days:
- food: What would happen if you removed junk food, take-out, or drive thru from your budget?
- water: What if you drank only water during the challenge?
- toiletries: toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, etc. (and by etc. I mean keeping it to only what’s necessary)
Things you DON’T need to buy more of or bring into your home for the next 30 days:
- Clothing & Shoes: If you have 7 (complete) outfits, you have more than enough to make it through the month!
- Make-up: I’m not saying if you run out of eyeliner that you can’t get more, but I am saying that you don’t need another palette of 31 eye-shadow colors just because it’s on sale
- Any subscriptions you can skip for a month: The less that comes into your house, the less you have to find a place for!
- Anything on sale or given to you: Chances are good this plays a part in how you got clutter to begin with!
- Anything else you don’t NEED to live: antiques, power tools, nick-knacks, crafts, stamps, fabric, curriculum, books, plants, etc.
THINGS TO LIMIT
And while we’re at it… let’s talk about two more things that can really clutter your life and side-track you:
- Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. can all be a great way to connect, get the word out, and promote causes… but it can also be a time sucker, and over the next 30 days, the time you spend on those things could be used to get rid of the clutter in your house! Decide how much time is best, set a timer, and stick to it throughout the challenge.
- Technology: This might be a great time to silence your phone and set hours for its use, shut your computer down, and leave the TV off during scheduled times of the day. By removing the little distractions, you can focus on the big picture and give more time to de-cluttering your home and re-connecting with your family (remember, this is all a part of creating a home you love to live in!)
THE CLUTTER CLAUSE
If a person is forced into decluttering, they’ll just go back to their old ways of doing (and buying) things… and the clutter will return. I can’t stress enough that decluttering has to be YOUR decision and you need to trust and follow through with the process completely.
- If you are unwilling to get rid of anything or refuse to allow more to come in… this will not be successful.
- If you’re ready to remove some physical clutter, but don’t want to go deeper and deal with your internal clutter… this will not be successful.
Nothing is going to change if you are not willing to recognize, release, and refuse all the clutter in your life including where you live, what you think, how you believe, and why you feel the way you do. Remember, clutter is anything that takes control over places it was never meant to be in your home, heart, mind, and soul, and if you want to be clutter-free… you simply can’t hold onto your clutter.
Getting rid of all the excess stuff and refusing to allow more clutter into your life is a necessary step to making your home a place you love to live in! Remember it took you more than one day to get this way, and it’s gonna take more than one day to remove the clutter, but you can do this! It’s time to break free from the clutter holding you back from your dream and remove the things that don’t bring meaning and purpose to your life so you can design the life you dream of living!
#1) Take the “NO MORE for 30” CHALLENGE
Stop the inflow of unnecessary things coming into your house. Write down all the reasons you want to declutter your home. Finish the following sentence,
No more for 30 for… (your reasons)
Put it where you will see it to remind you WHY you are doing this. These are the reminders to help sustain you through the moments you really want to bring more clutter into your home. You can’t declutter if you keep bring more clutter in.
DURING THE NEXT 30 DAYS… Until you deal with the reason(s) behind all the clutter that’s been crowding your home, confusing your emotions, compromising your beliefs, and controlling your thoughts, you will never have enough stuff and continue to be afraid to let go of anything, SOOOOOO when you start thinking you “need” something, take some time to think about why you want it. Write it down… both what you want, and why you want it. Do this every time it happens over the next 30 days and allow the No More for 30 Challenge reveal the truth about your wants. This will help you on your journey to de-clutter your life, both externally and internally.
#2) Make time to declutter every day
Take some time to sit down and make a plan as to when you will intentionally declutter. Deciding to get rid of clutter is a step in the right direction however, if you don’t create the time to do something about it, it won’t get rid of itself… and nothing will change. Give yourself 1-2 hours a day if possible. (If you can do more on a weekend, GREAT!) If you’re schedule is a disaster and you don’t know how to find the time to declutter… read PART 1: Schedule of this series to help you!
You are doing something great… and this is important, so make time for it. Guard your time! Schedule it, set a reminder, put a movie in for the kids, get a babysitter, get up earlier, or wait until the kids are in bed. You are one step closer to living a crazy.simple.good.life… you can do this!
YOUR NEXT STEP: When It’s Time to “PERRGE” Your House of Clutter